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SYDNEY: August 25, 2017. Qantas chairman Alan Joyce has challenged Boeing and Airbus to build an aircraft that can fly non-stop with a full payload between Sydney and London, New York and Rio de Janeiro by 2022.

A direct flight would cut total journey time by up to four hours on Sydney-London and almost three hours on Melbourne-New York. Next year the airline plans to operate non-stop between Perth and London.

Project SunriseNoting such an aircraft would be "one of the most strategically important aircraft orders in the history of Qantas," Joyce said both manufacturers were already working on ultra long-range versions of the B777 and A350 and his airline "has the unique operational experience to make it happen".

Qantas is calling the goal 'Project Sunrise' - an acknowledgement of flights by the airline across the Indian Ocean during World War 2 that remained airborne long enough to see two sunrises.

Joyce made his comments while announcing a Qantas Group pre-tax profit of A$1.4 billion on revenue of A$16.05 billion for its fiscal year ending June 2017 – the second highest in its history.

Qantas Freight reported a five percent decline in net revenue to A$808 million and a pre-tax profit of A$47 million – a drop of A$17 million over the previous period "due to weakness in the international market caused by increased widebody aircraft capacity," said Joyce.

The division acquired a B737-400 freighter during the year to develop further the Australian domestic market and expects to make additional investments in next-generation digital platforms.

The latest Qantas results mark the completion of a three-year A$2 billion turnaround program to make the airline group sustainably profitable. "It's fair to say those efforts have well-and-truly paid off," Joyce added.

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